ISLAMABAD - Defence Minister Khawaja Asif yesterday said that Pakistan will look for another source if the US did not provide the F-16s.

He said F-16 jet fighter has been very successful in counter terrorism operations and hoped that the United States would resolve the issue of supply of F-16 to Pakistan without further delay.

Talking to reporters after addressing a seminar on ‘Refugee Crisis and Its Ramifications for Global & National Security’ at a local hotel, he said the Obama Administration has supported supply of F-16 but the Congress is opposing it.

He pointed out that F-16 fighter jets have successfully been used in Zarb-e-Azb operation, adding that Pakistan has made major contributions in the war on terror and denying the F-16s to Pakistan will amount to denying those contributions.

Answering a question, the minister said that Pakistan will look for another source if the US did not provide the F-16s.

Earlier, addressing the seminar Asif said: “Right of easement cannot be extended to all the Afghan population. Therefore, we request the international community to come up with new efforts and proposals to stabilise Afghanistan, support existing measures, leading to repatriation of its citizens.”

The seminar was also addressed by Minister for SAFRON Lt. Gen. (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Dr. Maria Sultan, chairperson and director-general of South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) University

The conference is being hosted by the SASSI University in collaboration with the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), National Security Division and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Ends

Asif also emphasised that foreign intervention must stop so that conflicts don’t emerge. “We must not deal with the effects but also the causes.”

The Defence Minister said Pakistan shares 2,560-kilometre porous border with Afghanistan with over 200 unfrequented routes, which serve as points for illicit trafficking of weapons, drugs and humans. “24,000 people from Afghanistan are crossing from Khyber Agency alone per day majority without any legal travel documentation,” he added.

Asif said while the world deals with the Syrian crisis and its global ramifications, no country in the world understands better than Pakistan the implications of refugee crisis and its ramifications for domestic as well international peace and stability.

The defence minister said that South Asia stands at crossroads in terms of security and stability environment, as the continuous unrest in Afghanistan, growing threat of terrorism and extremism in the region in the shape of ISIS and historical adversarial relations between Pakistan and India have gravely impacted the regional stability.

“Furthermore, exponential increase in military and nuclear capabilities in the neighbourhood and their support to non-state actors to create unrest in Pakistan further complicated the country’s challenge to root out the menace of terrorism once for all. The recent arrest of Indian spy agency ‘RAW’ agent Kulbhushan Yadav is a case in point. Such activities not just complicate country’s national resolve but gives incentives to terrorist organizations to regroup and carry out activities against the state,” he emphasised.

Asif noted that the deterrence stability in South Asia is confronted by a multiple and grievous challenges, ranging from new limited war fighting concepts in the shape of Cold Start Doctrine to acquisition of destabilising technology i.e. Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system, nuclearisation of Indian Ocean and massive increase in India’s conventional defence spending —over $80 billion against Pakistan’s little over $6 billion — have pushed the South Asian region towards perpetual instability, unless and until the relationship is not stabilised through deliberate efforts.

“The idea of Cold Start Doctrine is based upon the notion of pre-emptive strike and calls for rapid deployment of ‘Integrated Battle Groups’. India’s Cold Start Doctrine joint with massive militarisation force has the capability to increase the level of an arms race, hence raising the level of minimum deterrence stability in the region. However, Pakistan maintains the policy of credible minimum deterrence and full spectrum response as core policy option for stability of the nuclear deterrence in the region,” he said.

The defence minister that these developments in the neighbourhood have compelled Pakistan to increase its reliance on nuclear deterrence and draft ambitious military strategies. “The introduction of NASR, short-range ballistic missile system is one of the key elements of a ‘Full Spectrum Deterrence (FSD)’ strategy. The FSD strategy is a response measure against the evolving threats, mainly emanating from neighboring nuclear armed India.”

He said the border management is a priority for Pakistan as it deals with the challenge of trans-border terrorism by the groups operating out of Afghan territory. “Hence where we recognise importance of the right of easement, it cannot be extended to the entire afghan population as 81.2 percent Afghans travel to Pakistan without any legal travel documentation.”

The minister said the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan remains challenging with the Afghan government facing a number of problems, including an increase in opium production that helps finance the insurgency.

“On our part, Pakistan is making sincere efforts in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations table and supporting the quadrilateral Afghan peace talks but in the end it will be the Afghan government which will lead the process as it must be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” he stressed “This is being done to help the Afghan government achieve lasting peace in the country,” he added.

Referring to the threats by the Afghan military hierarchy to carry out ‘hot pursuit’ actions in Pakistani territory, Asif said that any such action will not be well received or go unnoticed and will solicit a befitting Pakistan counter response.

“In the interest of peace, it is important that both countries resolve their issues peacefully and through mutual consultation. In the regional perspective, it is incumbent upon regional players to adopt a policy of co-existence and resolve disputes through peaceful means or joint bilateral mechanisms,” he said.

Khawaja Asif said that in today’s world, the concept of security transcends the traditional concept of border security. “Due to the increase in population in the underdeveloped and developing regions of the world, we witness a more complex form of security paradigms emerging out of national and regional mindsets,” he said.

“The world needs to have a new set of socioeconomic and sociocultural values which should not only address the aspirations of the people but also safeguard their rights to benefitting from their resources. The time has come to invest in human capital by adopting a just and equitable distribution of ever-shrinking global resources. Thus the important factor in ensuring global peace and security is the future role of global powers in the stability equation of the regions of the world, including Middle East and South Asia,” he concluded.